Unbuilding the Grace and Pearman Bridges

For Sparky and myself, curiosity drives passion which in turn fuels our life's engine. Our passion was capturing the story of both unbuilding the Grace (1929 - 2007) and Pearman (1966 - 2007) Bridges and discovering the unbuilders. It takes a lot of passion to track a project from July 2005 until April 2007 - rain, shine, hurricanes or moving to Singapore. We discovered the joy of discovery learning. Ken Canty opened the front door for us - then Steve Testa, Ponch Billingsley and Mickey Rogers opened many side doors. Below are the highlights of what we discovered, who we met and what we learned.

And a reminder from T.S. Eliot (East Coker from the Four Quartets)

Home is where one starts from. As we grow older
The world becomes stranger, the pattern more complicated
Of dead and living. Not the intense moment
Isolated, with no before and after,
But a lifetime burning in every moment
And not the lifetime of one man only
But of old stones that cannot be deciphered.

April 28, 2006:
A Farewell to Grace - Mt. Pleasant side of the Cooper River

Sparky captured the Thursday evening sunset and the Grace worksite. These image just kept coming back to me all day today and so here they are - a prelude to the Friday morning action

Now its Friday

Gary Eaton has done it again and thanks. Gary caught this morning's action along with photos of some of the players. Its 3am in Singapore, but I could not wait to get Gary's photos up. Sparky followed with his view from the Cooper River. Mickey also caught the action. Jonathon will get the video on Monday and we should have it up then. There is no better medicine for a bit of Charleston homesickness than photos of the bridge (from Gary, Sparky and Oscar)!

Sparky started out about 7am - the port

and our daily checkup on P-3 and Michael (I think)

The worksite - The Mt Pleasant side of the channel displays only the Grace cantilever and part of the on-ramp

another view of the worksite

Cousin Arthur taking it all in and Manny's crane about to be moved

Manny and his smile - what a crane operator and gentleman! And Scott - clearly Manny and Scott are solving serious problems with their smiles!

The dual boom crane - I suppose to help with the retrieval

The last ship to pass Grace before the detonation -from Sparky's perspective

Another view of the passing cargo ship

A piece of Sparky-art - the cargo ship framed by the grapple arm

Here is the initial ignition sequence from single video frames

T = 0    T = 0.033 sec

T = 0.067 sec    T = 0.100 sec

T = 0.133 sec    T = 0.167 sec

T = 0.200 sec    T = 0.233 sec

T = 0.467 sec    T = 0.800 sec

T = 1.133 sec    T = 1.467 sec

T = 1.800 sec    T = 2.133 sec

T = 2.467 sec    T = 2.800 sec

T = 3.133 sec    T = 3.467 sec

T = 3.800 sec    T = 4.133 sec

T = 4.467 sec    T = 4.800 sec

T = 7.767 sec    T = 11.133 sec

T = 14.467 sec    T = 17.800 sec

Sparky captured the intermediate fall from the Cooper River. Here are some high resolution images. Look closely at the middle support column - right side - a vertical line of fire

the vertical line is still there

Gone is the line of fire and replaced with a big splash

Gary was on the Mt. Pleasant side and shows a different perspective: The last ship to pass by Grace before the detonation

Before ignition



just smoke

and its all over - except new fishing opportunities for Jackie and Michael and Richie and Steve and the rest of the team

As seen by Sparky

and Gary

The team from Demolition Dynamics: Oscar -

and Oscar directing traffic!

David - a small smile of success!

and Dan

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

C. Frank Starmer